Leeds 2002 – Sunday

[r-zone1]Good day. Sunshine? No. Good bands. You want The Jam spat out all over an Eminem London street? Witness THE LIBERTINES, if you can catch them that is. You want Swedish supermodel rock. SWEDISH SUPERMODEL GIRLS WHO ROCK? SAHARA HOTNIGHTS are here.

[l-zone2]VEX RED
pedal metal, electronic British rock stylists of some growing confidence. They carry an NME endorsed reputation as “possibly the best new band in Britain”, but the dark, industrial tones of stunning debut album ‘Start With a Strong And Persistant Desire’ do a lot to justify the hype.

[r-zone3]The backlash against ANDREW WK (previous darling of the NME), on the other hand, is in full swing. Isn’t he the biggest joke on the bill? We’ll leave the review to a newly converted fan we met called Mary: “The performance was the funniest thing I saw all weekend, well worth the £90 plus booking fee alone. He didn’t stop smiling once and his dancing put my six year old nephew to shame. Unlike those miserable, moany men from Muse, Andrew WK looked like he was having the time of his life on stage, and therefore I did too. When and where can I see him again?”

[l-zone4]Up next, LESS THAN JAKE set new crowdsurfing distance records. They even exceed those achieved by Sum 41 previously. It’s all ‘wacky’ fun, yessiree. For a band who once released an entire album of metal-style covers from the movie ‘Grease’, how could it not be?

[r-zone5]Following on, A take the stage to their most raptuous applause ever. Last time they played here, they were bottom of the bill – music to wake up to. We only knew ‘Lake Tahoe’. Today, things could not be any more different, and as singer Jason Perry (the Sporty Spice of UK rock) bounces around the expansive stage, we are singing along joyously to every word of anthems like ‘Nothing’ and ‘Starbucks’. It’s a funny old world.

,[r-zone1]The Carling Stage gets its best day too. SERAFIN are one of the best Brit acts here, whilst THE D4 are the second best Kiwi act on show. AC/DC’s party spirit re-incarnated in its purest form, The D4 just require that bit more stage space. CAVE IN‘s hard slanted emo-rawwk is not particularly subtle, but sublime nonetheless, and though BEN KWELLER takes things down a few steps, he’s still rather cool.

[l-zone2]ASH like the rest of us have a hangover from hell, but pull off their customary evening party opener. There are few other bands who can play a whole set of wall to wall classics, especially when the drummer has just broken a load of ribs! The band are looking and sounding especially bright and colourful today. Charlotte in particular has an irresistable ‘glow’ about her.

[r-zone3]Is Ash had a few pints last night, the MUSE‘s hangover from a huge promo tour must be as big as Matt’s spikes and his band’s musical colossus. They look shattered despite sounding happier than usual. It doesn’t have the spark of some of their other great festival performances (Benacassim in Spain springs to mind), but even on a bad day, Muse tower majestically over any other live act in world, so we won’t hold a bit of lethargy against them. They debuted just one new song, which didn’t do much for the cause of mankind. ‘Plug In Baby’ however, remains the most elaborately brilliant anthemic sing-a-long to grace northern field this summer. Bliss

[l-zone4]FOO FIGHTERS then to end the festival? A strangely unconvincing choice of final headliner proves fun, nonetheless. Dave Grohl has an inimitable party spirit, and the Foos provide sufficient thrills to get us through the evening. A host of new songs in the band’s new, easy-to-swallow pop niche go down mostly unnoticed, save for a soft number he performs for an encore. ‘Stacked Actors’ and ‘Monkey Wrench’ batter out any muso cynicism and rekindle days gone by of Britxon crowdsurfing flights from the bars in the pit, long before god declared ‘Thou Shalt Not Crowd Surf’. It’s fun, but not life-changing. The end-of-night firework display was lovely, though (© Efestivals).

[r-zone5]Those seeking something a little more sharp and vital go and catch the end of BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB. A glorious psychedelic art-storm in a small dark tent. They’ve finally decided to shed the cloak of dullness which has followed them around the festival circuit this year. They have no charisma whatsoever, but the churning power behind every note is the crucifix from which every free-loading pop punk band should be hung from, drawn to and burnt alive. Or maybe just make them go sit on a portaloo for a while.

The music over for another year, we retire to the campsite to find the skyline ablze, with a police helicopter circling above. Must be that time again…